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Friday, 29 February 2008

bonelli's eagles

Things are really busy right now, I've been putting in a lot of hours painting -wise ( my manager at Halcyon will be glad to hear that I'm sure!) and I'm glad to say it's paying off. The bonelli's eagle piece is finished and the I've started to plan out another big grouse piece. The bonelli's is quite different from my usual pieces, there's a lot more focus on the landscape in this one. It was an interesting piece to work on and really challenged my drawing skills as far as getting the mountains right were concerned. It was inspired by a trip I took across that landscape in a plane, where I saw one of these eagles flying. I wanted to capture the vastness of the landscape and the height at which the birds are flying. I hope to try and make the viewer feel as though they are up there soaring with the eagles being buffeted around by the wind.

Aside from painting i'm glad to say the website went live a couple of weeks ago,
I'm really pleased with the way it looks, Richard at can can design and my wife Donna have done a great job, and are currently working on getting the online shop ready to launch. We'll be selling the giclees that we have exhibited at the falconry fair the last couple of years and hope to bring out a new image very soon too. Customers and friends of mine are always asking when a new image will be available, well now the answer is soon!
I'm thinking of setting up a poll on here for you to tell us which is the image you'd like to see in print, as it would help me to make the tough decision of which one to go for. Hopefully I'll get a chance to add that in soon, and I'll look forward to your feedback.

Monday, 18 February 2008

2 new pieces

Well the grouse piece finally got finished, and I decided to do a couple of small pieces inspired by my recent trip to Morroco in November. These are few of the many sketches I did in the field, whilst out there. I've got a lot of interesting material to work with,both sketches and photos, and hopefully over time it will help me to produce some exciting paintings inspired by the region.

Above is a Desert wheatear, and below , a goldfinch on thistles. These thistles were quite formidable- you wouldn't want to fall in them!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Enjoying the great outdoors.

Today saw me and the Kids in the country. I love having Joe and Maisie come with me to the great outdoors, Joe is usually less than enthusiastic at first and today was no exception though
once he's out there he has a great time.I wanted to take a load of branches we'd trimmed from one of the tree's in the garden and put them to good use in the Pheasant pen and near to the
feeders we have around the place at Aveton.I also needed to check on the numbers of paired Partridges we could see today,and generally have a nose to see what was about. So I hitched trailer up,bundled kids and some provisions provided by my domestic goddess , oh and
grabbed the Camera as there was no way I'd get any sketching done but did'nt want to miss a thing.

Well by the time we had got to the fields the Kids were already into the food.No suprises there then!! Now the deal is that when we get to the fields I let them get into the back of the Landy,which they love ! Standing in the back as we go round the fields. They are very good actually and do exactly as I tell them by holding on tight to the grab handles at the back and sitting still. They love bumpy ride and end up in stitches. They threw themselves into lugging the off cuts of tree round the place I only wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph them doing it . I disturbed a group of four partridge near the pheasant pen and saw wrens and a few robins around the pen no pheasants though.I topped up the feeders and removed one that had Squirrel damage.

A beauty of a Buzzard wheeled around above us while the Kids demolished the remainder of the supplies. I did get a couple snaps of it befor the troops were getting bored with clambering around in the Landy So I got them topping up the feeders raound the pen area. The feeding is so important this time of year and the amount of shoots that just stop feeding amazes me . The hen birds in particular need the extra reserves for egg laying soon to come , not to mention the smaller birds that benefit from it . So we carry on and hopefully give them an exta helping hand.
We moved up into the next fields to check where I'd seen a pair of Partridge by the old pen that I left there . I stopped the truck about fifty yards from the pen to glass it to see if they were there. Noticed a group of linnets rise from below one of the other feeders nearby. At first There appeared to be nothing there but my eye caught the slightest of movements from inside the pen.
Yes there the plump form of a grey partridge. I Let the Kids look through the bino's at the Partridge ,joe was so pleased he actually found it by looking through them. I coasted the landy past the pen and stopped a little furter down the hill on closer inspection there were two inside and the feeder looked still quite full . I left them and drove on to the next feeder.

We bumped another pair near to this one and a load of Larks and Yellow Hammers making use of our handouts. We headed back up the field and I snapped away at the Larks floating around us as we moved through the stubble. Joe steered as I controled the clutch so we crept forward
which he and maisie found quite amusing to say the least.I let him steer where he wanted as we were in a very large stubble field. Got some respectable shots too using this method ! Bet Simon King never used that one !By now Maisie was onto " I'm Hungry Daddy" cos it must have been all of half an hour since the snacks had been exhausted , so we decided to take a break head to Modbury and raid the co op for further picnic supplies. Which consisted of pack of mini sausages , punet of strawberries, three packets of crisps some jumbo cadbury's buttons, a Kinder Egg, and
some Bournvile dark choc all washed down with a couple Fruitshoots and a bottle of water.We took our bootie back to the fields and dinned alfresco overlooking rolling countryside and river below , I took snaps of Stonechats fliting from fence posts to snatch insects in the grass. We then headed on to top up and check more feeders saw a couple more pairs of Grey's which is encouraging and took snaps of more Skylarks and flocks of linnets in the stubbles.

Then headed back taking the winding route past the tidal road stopping to look at Egrets and Waders on the low tide feeding frenzy. Joe hogged the Bino's but was obviously enjoying the experience and had forgotten he actually didnt want to come this morning.! I snapped some more Curlew, Redshank ,Oystercatcher,Common Sandpiper and Swans and Mallard, It was a beauty of day and the sun was on its last golden hour the route home took us past Ringmoor and Langston my other bit of flying ground . I noticed and pointed out to joe the stragling V formation of a group of Golden plover high in the sky above Sevenstones cross and explained aboutwhy some flocks of birds fly like that. We stopped to see if we could see if they put down but came up with a blank. We did watch a nice gathering of Yellow Hammers though, roosting in the Hawthorns near the big barns by Langston cross. It was a nice end to a relaxed outdoor's day Maisie had long since sucumbed the the gentle rocking of a moving car and was out like a light and me and Joe chatted about Falcons and how camera's work and how this works? and what does that do? and why do birds do this and why they do that and Which dinosaur was itthat made birds and so on, so on, so, on .

Friday, 8 February 2008


Yesterday I spent all day painting rocks!!!!! God those rocks are driving me mad!!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

update on the grouse piece

Here's the latest progress on grouse piece. The next painting I'm going to be working on, is a piece I started a while ago, but that had to put to one side to work on a major commission. It's of 2 bonelli's eagles, hopefully I will get back to it in the next week.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Braving the weather for the sake of my art

On Sunday, despite the high winds, bitter cold and heavy showers, we just had to get out with the kids. Donna suggested we pop to the beach at nearby Bovisand,to get pebbles for the kids to bring home and paint on. The kids really enjoyed it, and it proved to be inspiring for me too. As well as the fantastic crashing waves I managed to spot a number of interesting species to take photos of, and then sketch when we returned home.

species seen: black headed gull, greater black backed gull, herring gull, common gull, cormorant,oyster catcher, rock pipit, mallard, fulmar, pied wagtail

Friday, 1 February 2008

End of the season

After loosing my falcon, Missy, to a fence in Dec 06, I decided to take a year out to get some much needed work done in the studio and take stock of my falconry. My friend Steve Williams asked if he could come down to Devon for the end of the season this year and fly Maisie, my daughter's namesake, which I agreed to whole heartedly. He flew Maisie on some of my ground last year, and sadly my good friend,Dave Scott from whom he acquired her,was unable to come out with us that day and so missed her surgical kill of a partridge. So this time we arranged with Dave to fly on his ground. After too much chatting, drinking coffee, and waiting for the weather, we eventually got started. Dave is very fortunate to live on his hawking ground. Nick Pitts, the owner is very supportive of Dave's falconry and with Dave's help runs a farm shoot, in return Dave gets to fly the majority of the ground with it's long strips of game cover and rolling lift conduscive slopes, it's a good place to fly. When it was Steve's turn , we elected to try with the help of Dave's dog to find Maisie a point. After a brief distraction of her putting a rather foolish magpie into the cover of the gully she started to mount. The wind direction was not the best for this spot and she worked hard to get to an admirable pitch. We were hoping for a pheasant, but flushed a single grey, that headed straight down the field towards the bottom gully. Maisie was facing the wrong way, and not placed well, but made the ground up supremely, snagging the partridge with her superb footing,just before the hedge. She then casually winnowed down into the winter wheat with her prize. Steve has certainly put a lot of work into her, it was so rewarding to see this wonderful little female showing us what she is made of. Dave, Leonard, Steve and Stan made this a great end of season day.


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